Police: Puppy left in hot truck for 10 hours while men were out drinking

BARNSTABLE, Massachusetts (WPRI) — Two Massachusetts men were arrested and charged with animal cruelty after police said they left a puppy in the cab of their pickup truck as they went out drinking on the Cape.

Police responded to a restaurant on Main Street in Hyannis at about 12:30 a.m. Monday for a report of two intoxicated individuals refusing to leave. After police arrived, the two men – identified as Justin Wagner and Matthew Bernier – decided to take a taxi to a location in Falmouth for the night.

About 40 minutes later, the officers were called to another bar on Main Street for a report of a stolen vehicle. It turned out to be Wagner and Bernier, reporting their pickup truck had been stolen, according to police.

The officers soon determined the truck was never actually stolen, but rather the pair had become so intoxicated they couldn’t remember where they left it. They also learned the two men may have left a puppy in the vehicle while they went out drinking.

Police said Bernier became belligerent and uncooperative and was placed in protective custody.

A Barnstable police officer and Midnight (Photo: Barnstable Police)
A Barnstable police officer and Midnight (Photo: Barnstable Police)

The puppy was left in the vehicle at about 5 p.m., when it was 82 degrees outside with 65 percent humidity, according to police. Officers canvassed the area, and found the pickup truck at about 3 a.m.

Police said the vehicle’s windows were not open, and the German Shepherd was inside the cab in a makeshift kennel made out of a box and a blue tarp. Police said the puppy was panting heavily and appeared frightened.

Police gave the puppy – whom they nicknamed “Midnight” – several bottles of water, after which she started to return to normal. She was brought back to police headquarters, where she was cared for until being turned over to Barnstable Animal Control.

Wagner, 29, of Fall River, and Bernier, 27, of Westport, were held overnight and arraigned Tuesday on a charge of felony animal cruelty.

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